Fiddlehead fits and starts

Here’s today’s progress on my 19th century D.C. spy caper about a powerful Difference Engine that will end the Civil War – now with warhawk conspiracies, clockwork assassins, two presidents with more in common than they know, three disgraced spies with less in common than they think, and a Bonus! not-at-all mad scientist who can save the world if someone will just give him a chance:


    Project: Fiddlehead
    Deadline: September 15, 2012
    New words written: 1351 (not my finest count)
    Present total word count: 3020 words



    Things accomplished in fiction: Got chapter one underway. The not-at-all mad scientist is somewhat annoyed at these silly intruders who are trying to kill him and destroy his life’s work.

    Darling du Jour: “‘Yes,'” Gideon breathed, but he did not smile. Turning on the apparatus was not the hard part. It was the first hard part.”

    Things accomplished in real life: Met an old friend from grad school for lunch, and gossiped about people we haven’t seen in ages; picked up a dress I’d left at a seamstress for alterations; drove out to Southeastern Salvage in search of an interior door that will fit our guest/game/cat room, but this proved trickier than we’d hoped; spent awhile on the phone with my stepmom, who (along with my dad) will not be visiting on Thursday after all – due to circumstances beyond their control.

    Other: I’m disappointed that the dad/stepmom can’t make it this weekend, but hey, they’ll be here next month … which gives me more time to tame the yard jungle and perhaps do a little detail work around the house, including finding a door to fit that damn guest room. It also gives me a chance to get a jump-start on Fiddlehead – which clearly didn’t happen today. Tomorrow likely won’t be a high word count day either (though you never know), as I have a lunch get-together; my pseudo-sister-in-law is passing through town, so we’re trying to arrange a bite to eat with Laura and Mike. Then at three I have an interview with a journalist in North Carolina (in advance of ConTemporal).

    Son of Other: I’d actually like to get a little more writing in tonight, but the truth is, I’m exhausted and have a raging headache. Maybe I’ll go to bed early, wake up early, and catch some work hours in the a.m. before lunch and interview. What? It could happen. The cat usually gets me up around 8:30 or 9:00 anyway. Somebody has to open the curtains and let in the morning sunbeams. And by “somebody” I mean “yours truly, because the husband’s powers of ignore are stronger than mine.”

4 thoughts on “Fiddlehead fits and starts

  1. Wallace N

    I was curious, do all authors keep a daily word count of what they’ve written, or is this just something you do to measure your progress to 100% of the novel? I also noticed the total is 120k words. Is this an actual commitment to the publisher, or just a ball park figure you’re aiming for and you’d be quite happy with 110k or 130k? And this is my last question, I promise (for this post at least), is that word count of 1351 yesterday really firm, i.e. completely edited and proofed and ready to go, or is that just in the form of the first draft and later you may decide to go back and edit that upwards to 2000 words or even downward to 1000 words or even cut that scene completely? Sorry to bother you, but I’ve never actually talked to a real mainstream published author before while they were actually in the process of writing their next book. Thanks in advance for your answers.

  2. Well, okay – here goes:

    1. “do all authors keep a daily word count of what they’ve written” – I don’t know. Some of them do, some of them don’t, I expect.

    2. “120k words. Is this an actual commitment to the publisher, or just a ball park figure” – Eh, it’s a ballpark figure.

    3. “is that word count of 1351 yesterday really firm, i.e. completely edited and proofed and ready to go, or is that just in the form of the first draft and later you may decide to go back and edit that upwards to 2000 words or even downward to 1000 words or even cut that scene completely?” – It’s not even Draft One. I call it Draft Zero.

  3. Patrick Doris

    Congratulation on getting back to writing Has Raylene gotten a new contract?

  4. Wallace N

    Thanks for your answers. I’m trying to write a story myself and it helps to get the feel of the mind of an actual published good author. Good luck on your new novel, I hope to add it to my collection of your works as soon as it comes out, which I’m guessing won’t be till sometime late in 2013 since your last novel isn’t even scheduled to come out till Nov. of this year.

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